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Geneva considers combining zoning, plan commissions

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Geneva aldermen will consider a proposal to combine the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Plan Commission into one panel, the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The issue will come up for discussion at the Committee of the Whole meeting, which is at 7 p.m. Monday at 109 James St., City Planner David Degroot said.

Aldermen will be asked to recommend a Plan Commission public hearing on whether to amend the city code to consolidate into one, according to the agenda.

“Our idea was to combine the two to expedite our development review process,” DeGroot said. “If there is a need for review, it has to go before the ZBA and the plan commission if they need a special use.”

The other factor was that the zoning board went 21/2 years without a meeting, DeGroot said.

“People want to be part of the communities, and an inactive board is not doing justice to them,” DeGroot said. “Two new members never heard a case until last May. The Plan Commission meets pretty frequently – once a month and sometimes more than that.”

Relief from the regulations is handled by the zoning board. Plan Commission members review issues stemming from the city’s zoning ordinance, he said, so it would make sense to follow what other communities have done, and that is to combine them, he said.

“It expedites the process and the cost to the city,” DeGroot said. 

DeGroot said they have not talked about expanding the number of members on the combined panel, possibly putting zoning members’ names in a preference pool for open slots on the combined commission.

“This is the aldermen’s first discussion on Monday, when we will be asking direction to proceed,” DeGroot said.

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